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DECAY OF THE CALIPHATE           97

A Persian courtier explained to his furious master that
the omission of the alif or " A " conveyed a delicate
request from the Caliph's Vizier for a thousand gold
coins, the symbol for which is alif. The money was sent
and a new decree was obtained, in which Mahmud was
styled Amir. The prestige of the Caliph and the craving
for recognition by him constituted practically all that was
left of his power, but it was a force that had to be
reckoned with and was doubtless of material assistance
in maintaining the Caliphate. Soon after the death or
Mahmud the western provinces of this extensive empire
were annexed by the Seljuks, with the result that the
dynasty looked eastwards for compensation and became
thenceforth so much identified with India that Lahore
was selected as the capital of the later Ghaznavid princes.

VOL. II                                                                                    H